In one of her first official speaking engagements since her swearing-in, NNSA Administrator Jill Hruby addressed the challenges of strengthening nuclear nonproliferation and fighting climate change in remarks at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management and the European Safeguards Research and Development Association.
“Climate change goes beyond the United States – it affects us all,” said Hruby. “It has gone from being a single issue concerning our environment to now affecting the advancement of societies and survival of people around the world. I strongly believe that the way to effectively combat climate change requires global adoption of innovative nuclear science and technology, which can’t happen without us increasing nuclear safeguards and security – and that’s where the work of the Department of Energy and NNSA comes in.”
Encouraging continued global cooperation to meet the world’s energy and climate science needs, Hruby told the international membership, “We still have the same common longstanding goals to achieve – providing effective nuclear materials security and safeguards to protect our citizens from incidents or accidents while allowing the development of nuclear energy and other peaceful uses.”
Nuclear nonproliferation is a core NNSA mission. One way the agency pursues that mission is to work with commercial industry and other partners to ensure innovative nuclear technology can thrive while reducing the risk that sensitive nuclear materials may be stolen or diverted.
NNSA engages in a number of activities to meet this need: Last week, NNSA announced Nuclear Nexus, a single point of access for NNSA and DOE National Laboratory recommendations, training, tools, and other relevant technical expertise and guidance on nonproliferation. The agency also works with industry and other experts to reduce proliferation risks from nuclear medicine, including an ongoing project to encourage domestic production of a key medical isotope without using highly enriched uranium.
“I think the world needs nuclear energy as safe, secure, reliable, clean base power capability.” Hruby said. “For this to be successful, new innovative, cost-effective approaches are needed including more inherently safe and secure reactors, potentially new fuels with less proliferation concern, new remote safeguard and improved security options, and more mature spent fuel disposal options.”